My role started in March 2022 when Hex Trust MENA didn’t exist, and the local operation was run as a one-man show. After a few months, our Head of Risk and Business Management, Geoff and Emmanuel, along with several key new recruits, joined me in Dubai and provided invaluable support in the process of obtaining the provisional license first and now the MVP license.
I would describe my role as challenging, but at the same time, incredibly rewarding. During the last six months, most of my time has been spent setting up our local entity and obtaining the VARA license that allows us to operate. These may seem like rather simple tasks, but in fact, they were a real challenge. Being in charge of the project has certainly pressured me, but the positive outcome is finally here, and I can’t wait to start doing business with Hex Trust MENA FZE.
I witnessed the birth of Hex Trust during the early days of crypto in Hong Kong. The vision of institutional adoption was there, but the market was small, fragmented, and unregulated and was only for retail and early pioneers. Whilst I was at Fidinam, I started advising clients in the space, and I relied on Hex Trust as a partner for custody and trading. In the coming years, my interest and involvement in digital assets grew to the point where I decided to go full-time in crypto. In the early days, I was lucky enough to advise companies that became (rightly or not) unicorns. In retrospect, it was great to be there that early.
It was a simple ETH transaction from one wallet to another, which literally blew my mind. It was 2015, and I had to send money to a friend based in Switzerland (a small amount) and I didn’t want to pay US$25 in SWIFT fees to HSBC. Once I realized how it was working, it was clear to me that it was going to be a game-changing technology.
Yes, Dubai has been making significant strides in becoming a global crypto hub over the last 12 months. The government has been actively promoting the use and adoption of blockchain technology and digital currencies and has set a goal to become a global leader in the sector. They also have a metaverse strategy which is rather unusual for a government - this is a testament to their commitment to the digital assets space. Additionally, setting up a strong regulatory body called Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) is another demonstration of their focus.
Dubai has attracted many big names already in the industry, such as Binance, OKX, and others. This is a sign that Dubai is truly becoming a destination and hub for crypto-related businesses and investors.
In summary, the government's efforts to promote the use of blockchain technology and digital currencies, along with the development of a regulatory framework and the attraction of major players in the crypto industry, are likely to drive the continued growth of the crypto industry in Dubai.
I like the underground music scene, which from my experience, people are generally surprised by. I have loved techno music since I was a kid, and Carl Cox was one of my idols.
Morning person or night owl?
I am definitely more of a morning person, I feel energized and productive in the morning.
Favourite sports teams?
Redbull F1 team
Dogs or cats?
Golden retriever. I will soon have one called TURBO
Sweet or salted popcorn?
Sweet with some salt.
Coffee or tea?
I don't cope well with caffeine, but I keep on drinking coffee to try to be more productive.
What scares you?
Becoming old. I’m about to turn 40, but I wouldn't mind spending some more time in my 30s.
Tarantino as a whole. Inglorious Basterds and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood both feature the fixing of injustice in history. I like it.
Favourite travel destination?
The coasts of Croatia. I used to sail there as a kid, and the memories make it a special place for me.
What would you eat for your last meal?
My mother’s gnocchi. Epic.
Bitcoin or Ethereum?
A wrapped BTC on Ethereum.